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From the News Archives...

Amazing Graze

Keeping land in native grasses is better for the environment than converting it to cropland because grasslands are more efficient at taking excess carbon dioxide from the air and sequestering it in the soil in the form of organic matter. Grasses also prevent soil erosion from wind and water. Introducing cattle and bison to the grasslands enhances this process even further.

Why? According to research conducted by the USDA's Agriculture Research Service, "Excluding grazing entirely generally results in a buildup of plant litter on the soil surface, increased weedy species and decreased grasses, and a disruption of carbon cycling between the plants and soil, which can result in a significantly lower carbon content in the soil. Most grassland ecosystems evolved under grazing and removing livestock entirely may, over the long term, decrease the carbon content of the soil and reduce the productivity and sustainability of the system."

"Effects of Grazing on Carbon Sequestration," Reeder S J and Schuman G E. Crop Research Laboratory, Ft Collins, CO.

 

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